Sunday, 7 April 2019

Qantas links Adelaide and Darwin with Uluru with new flights`

The leading Australian airline Qantas confirmed it would be launching the first direct commercial flights to Uluru from both Adelaide and Darwin to meet growing demand from travellers to the Red Centre.

The direct flights to Ayers Rock Airport will operate twice per week from both cities (on Wednesdays and Saturdays) with the airline’s Boeing 737 aircraft, offering almost 700 seats to the destination each week.

The routes add to Qantas’ daily flights from Alice Springs and Cairns to Uluru, and Jetstar’s up to 17 direct weekly services to the destination from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

Qantas Domestic CEO Andrew David said the new flights reinforced the airline’s commitment to supporting tourism growth in the Territory.

“We’re seeing more demand for travel to Uluru from international and interstate tourists than we have seen in a long time. In the past few years the Qantas Group has added new routes and more flights to Uluru from Brisbane and Sydney and now Adelaide and Darwin,” said Mr David.

“The direct flights offer a new convenient option from Adelaide and Darwin, saving travellers up to five hours’ time instead of travelling on flights via other cities. As the national carrier, we’re proud to promote the NT to travellers from around the world and in our own backyard. We’re committed to working closely with tourism bodies, hotels, tour operators and airports to get behind these new routes, continuing to drive demand, not just to Uluru, but across all parts of the Territory.”

Voyages CEO, Grant Hunt said: “The spiritual heart of Australia is now more accessible than ever and these new direct routes to Uluru create opportunities for both the leisure and business events sectors. Uluru has experienced a huge leap in visitation in recent years and it is great to see Qantas responding to this increased demand from international and interstate travellers. Initiatives such as Bruce Munro’s Field of Light Uluru have attracted more than 200,000 guests since opening in 2016, providing travellers with the impetus to book now and helping turn Uluru into a year-round destination.”

These new flights were announced last November as part of a package of adjustments to the Qantas Group’s Northern Territory network and schedule to reflect changes in the market. Qantas will continue to monitor routes within the NT with flexibility in its fleet to respond quickly to any changes in customer demand.

Earlier in the month, the airline launched its direct flights from Bendigo to Sydney, marking the first commercial flight from the regional Victorian city in more than 30 years.  The new direct flights to Sydney operate six days per week, saving hours of travel time for business and leisure travellers who would have previously travelled via Melbourne.

QantasLink CEO John Gissing said the new route was an example of the national carrier growing its network to meet demand and supporting regional Victoria. "We’re excited to now be flying direct to Bendigo, saving local travellers time and encouraging more people from Australia and around the world to visit the region,” said Mr Gissing, adding "The response to the Bendigo flights has been very positive, with several of our first flights completely sold out. We’re also seeing strong bookings around school holidays, and during the week as business travellers take advantage of the convenient direct flight for their regular trips to Sydney."

The City of Greater Bendigo Council’s upgraded Bendigo Airport is the newest terminal in the Qantas network and has been designed with a focus on seamless travel and modern convenience.

“Customers will experience one of the fastest and smoothest airport experiences on our network,” Mr Gissing added. “These direct flights will not only save travellers hours of time previously spent in the car when flying via Melbourne, but also time in airport queues, as the journey through Bendigo Airport will be quick and easy.”

The key tips for Bendigo travellers are to check-in online, receive their digital boarding pass, and remember the carry-on baggage allowance for this aircraft type on regional flights. QantasLink will operate its 50-seat Q300 turboprop aircraft on the route, offering more than 30,000 seats each year. Flights will operate six times each week before increasing to daily over the peak summer season.

QantasLink’s services have been made possible with the support of the Victorian Government, Visit Victoria and City of Greater Bendigo Council, including through upgrades made to the airport terminal and runway.

Comments from Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan: “It is fantastic to see Bendigo connected to regular flights to Sydney, this is a win for tourism and the regional economy and a vote of confidence in everything Bendigo has to offer. We’re so proud to play our part in upgrading the airport, working collaboratively with the City of Greater Bendigo to make this happen.”

Comments from City of Greater Bendigo Mayor Cr Margaret O’Rourke: “We are excited to welcome Qantas to Bendigo and very pleased to have attracted a service that provides residents and businesses with regular travel to and from Sydney. We also see this as a great opportunity to attract more people to our city and region to live, work and visit. A service such as this enhances the experience of living regionally and places the world on our doorstep,” Cr O’Rourke said.

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